By Aron Snyder
Anytime you start looking at lightweight gear you can pretty much count on dropping $100 for every ounce saved, but with a Havalon knife, you will be saving several ounces for under $40.
Consider this, when you break down an elk in the backcountry, one standard knife will not stay sharp long enough to complete the job. This means you will either need to pack at least 2-3 knives to complete the job, or bring a sharpener and take the time to stop what you’re doing and re sharpen the knife you have. Either way, you are looking at an average weight of 6 oz’s per knife or 6 oz’s for a sharpener.
The Havalon Piranta Edge weighs 2.2 ounces with a 60XT blade attached and if you add 4 extra blades, you’re still less than 3 total ounces. This will take away a potential 9 ounces of total pack weight for under $40. The weight savings alone is a huge bonus, but the time it takes to swap out the surgical blades, should also be taken into consideration. I’ve been using these for a while now, but changing out a blade in less than 10 seconds is about average and that saves precious time on the mountain when trying to get your game cooled down as fast as possible.
With the Piranta and 60XT blade attached, you can break down the largest game on the mountain, but you will need to take some care in not snapping the blade in half with horizontal pressure. It did take me a couple animals to get the hang of this, but it is something to keep in mind when figuring the total amount of blades that will be needed for a particular hunt.
I’ve recently started using the Havalon Baracuta Blaze, weighing in at 3 oz’s with the 115XT blade attached and giving you a total blade length of 4 3/8 inches. This knife is slightly heavier, but pretty much fixed any issue I had with the Piranta and 60XT blade combo. The 115XT blades are much thicker and horizontal pressure is not much of an issue. The Baracuta’s additional blade length is also a great option when dealing with large sized game like moose and elk.
In the last 4 seasons, I’ve personally broken down 104 big game animals with the Piranta and Baracuta. In that time, I’ve narrowed down the amount of blades that are needed for each specific game animal. These are general, but it will give you a decent idea of the amount of blades needed for you next hunt.
Mule Deer—2 blades
Mountain Goat—2 blades
I can’t say enough about the Havalon knives and the time and weight they’ve saved me on the mountainside. In my opinion, these are a must have for any hunter heading out west.